15 February 2006

Invisible Children

Tonight my roommate and I went to a screening of Invisible Children, a documentary about children in Northern Uganda who are abducted from their homes and forced into a rebel army. Taken from their homes by night and dragged into the bush, the children are forced to witness and participate in atrocities, maimings, and killings. To elude their captors, each night thousands of children walk into the center of town and sleep in a bus station veranda. They are not safe in their own beds.

To find out more about their plight, check out this link: www.invisiblechildren.com. They describe the situation much better than I can and from a first-hand perspective. They even have some ideas about how we can help.

Amber and I returned from the screening with our minds buzzing and passions kindled. We talked ardently as we walked home, but as the door swung shut behind us, silence won out. Here's the thought that keeps coming back to me: God is for the oppressed. I don't know about you, but I want to be for what God's for. This must stop.

We speak often about how blessed we are in regards to money, family, health, nationality, etc. And that's true: we have much to be thankful for. But compare those things with who Jesus says are blessed: the poor, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness/justice (cf Matt. 5, Luke 6). Funny, isn't it, how when we think of blessings it's often material? In contrast, Jesus looks into the eyes of people, unlikely people, and utters his creative declaration, "Blessed." Why, we wonder, would Jesus say these are the Blessed? Could he be reclaiming that once sparkling imago dei, beckoned into being with one word, with two words declared, "Very good?" The One who calls order out of chaos looks into eyes swimming in despair and breathes a new creative word, "Blessed." Could it be that there really is good news and a new way of envisioning life for the poor, the oppressed, the outcast?

What if we could catch a glimpse of that new way of envisioning life, too? Today I've been wondering what a contemporary history book might look like if written by God. (I mean, He's done it before!) Think about those subtitles in your high school textbooks. Would those really be the high points of history from a divine point of view? How about things that are happening now? I've heard someone say recently that he thinks our period of history will be remembered for the things like technological advances and the war on terror. Well, probably. Tonight I heard that the civil wars in Uganda and Sudan are comparable in scope to the Holocaust. We're talking about abducted children forced to kill their own countrymen against their will. And it hasn't had a lot of press. I'm convinced that what appears to be barely newsworthy in our media saturated culture breaks the heart of God. It should break ours too. I think it'd be a major chapter in God's history book. It's time for disciples of Christ to catch/re-catch a vision for serving those Jesus calls blessed. Find out how you can help.

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